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International friendly sees grassroots games called off

Thousands of footballers, including children, at amateur level saw their games called off due to the Wales vs Scotland friendly game on the same day.

The Rugby Association of Wales (FAW) called off grassroots games within 50 miles of Cardiff so people could attend the Wales v Scotland match.

But children's morning games were also off ahead of the Wales 3-0 win.  Grassroots matches have been cancelled previously when Wales have played competitive fixtures but not for a friendly.

Coaches say they can understand why the adult games did not take place because they usually kick off in the afternoon but most children's games take place in the morning which left plenty of time to get to the match.

Coach Julian Straker-Jones, secretary of Thornhill Athletic FC in Cardiff, said: "It's mad. Why are we stopping kids playing in the morning when Wales are playing later in the day?

"It doesn't stop them attending the match.

"It's madness that they put these restrictions in and it's sapping the enthusiasm of the kids."

Huw Williams, who coaches one of the Urdd under-nine teams in Cardiff, described the decision as "bizarre".

"It's heavy-handed isn't it, given that it's a friendly as well. If it was a World Cup qualifier I might understand it," he said.

"You can understand adults' football but not grassroots football with the kids."

The FAW said the principle was to encourage as many people as possible to attend Wales matches but it was aware of people's frustration when games took place in the morning.

A spokesperson said: "The situation is the rule as it stands had to be applied to the game but it is a rule that will be looked at in the future.

"The issue we have at the moment is that there's nothing can be done at this moment in time. It's something that may well be changed for future games."

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